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Wilderness Electric Bike Kit

by RL Policar

Overview:

This motor using technology that has been around for over a century and is very simple in design. It has a positive wire going into the motor, and a negative wire coming out of it, and is driven by a single phase electrical pulse, sent from a Controller. Inside the motor, mechanic brushes and a commutator (armature) switch the pulse of electricity back and forth to create a “push-pull” magnetic field in the coils, which are in the center of the motor. As a pulse of electricity is sent to the motor from the controller, the coils create a strong magnetic field, which repulses them from the magnets that surround the coils, and causes the motor to advance (rotate) away from the magnets – making the motor spin”. The only moving parts (hence, parts that can wear out), in this motor are the brushes and the center bearing. The brushes will last somewhere around 7,000 – 8,000 hours, which should give a minimum of five years use before they need to be replaced” This motor is very rugged, durable, and requires simpler electronics than a BrushLESS motor. It can accept varying voltage from 24 volts up to as high as 72 volts, provided that you have a controller that is capable of running it at the higher voltages without burning up.

Kit/

Disclaimer:
As a product reviewer for Commute By Bike, I am providing my unbiased opinion of any products provided to us by any company. I do not posses any type of relationship with the product’s company or parent companies. I am not compensated in any way by companies that send in their goods to be reviewed.

My background:
I am 5’7″, 174 lbs. I ride a Giant Warp DS 2 for trail riding and a Giant Cypress LE for my daily commute. I also own a 7 speed Gary Fisher Tarpon. I am mainly a XC rider that will occasionally have too much fun on my Warp. I am also a bike commuter traveling 10-20 miles each way.

Testing Grounds:
My current options for testing any products are at the following trails and streets of Southern California: Fullerton Loop, Panorama, Turnbull Canyon, Aliso Woods which consists of: Woods Canyon, Rockit, Cholla, Meadows, Lynx and Top of the World. When testing products for commuting, my route usually will take me through the following streets: Bastanchury, St. College, Chapman Ave, Main St. and Jamboree Rd.

In the past year I’ve participated in riding events such as the LA Bike Tour, 04 and 05, Southridge Spring Fling and the Mt. Sac Fat Tire Classic. I am planning on participating in more events when the opportunity comes.

Product Tested:
Electric Bike Conversion Kit New 2004 Model

Gary Fisher Electric Kit

First Impressions and Comments:
I was blown away by this kit! I couldn’t believe how well it handled and accelerated. The manual stated that to save energy, I should pedal first to get it going. Even if I didn’t pedal first, this thing had enough torque to pull me and get going pretty fast.

Options:
You have a choice between the BRUSHLESS MOTOR (B-36) and the BRUSHED MOTOR (BFP-36).

There’s two major differences between the brushed and brushless motors. For one thing the brushed motor allows you to accelerate without the aid of pedaling. The brushless requires you to pedal first. However, if you accelerate without pedaling, your battery can quickly be drained.

Strengths:
- Makes commuting easier
- Fun, Fast and Powerful
- Kit includes everything you need
- Easy to install
- Charges in a few hours (6-8)
- Heavy Duty Rack can be used with panniers.
- Can climb hills

Weaknesses:
- Super Heavy, batteries alone weigh over 20lbs
- Once the battery is dead, the bike is harder to pedal with all the added weight
- Throttle gets in the way or your gear shifter.
- Instead of a standard charger, they should have made a smart charger. Smart chargers will automatically turn off once the battery pack has been fully charged. This prevents damage to the pack.

Summary:
The Wilderness Electric Bike Kit was an awesome product to review. It made my commute easier as well as allowing me to run errands much faster without being too sweaty.

The heavy duty rack doubles as a battery holder, but you can attach your panniers so you can carry your clothes or even groceries. The electric bike kit basically turns your bike into a pseudo motorcycle. It allows you to go further by alternating from pedaling and electric when riding.

Cost
$349

Related Links:
Wilderness Electric

 
The Chariot Summer Sale - 2013

37 Responses to “Wilderness Electric Bike Kit”

  1. [...] Oct 2005 10:18 pm

    We’ve posted our review on the Wilderness Energy Bike Kit. Read the REVIEW!

    [...]

  2. Gil says:

    Hi,

    Last year (2005) I bought the Wildernes Energy BD36 conversion kit (brushed) and it worked great for 1 year.

    However, the brushes went out last week. They only lasted 1700 miles, or 85 hours at 20mph.

    This is not what they claim. They dont tell you that the brushes have to be replaced every year.

    From the real world…
    Gil

  3. Steve ONeill says:

    Please tell me what Brand of Bike is in the Photo above ? I have the BD36 E-Bike Kit, but I cannot find a Bike that will handle the Large BD36 AXLE, or the 4 Inch Motor Width ! I have been searching everywhere for a BIKE that will handle the BD36 Kit’s large diameter AXLE and 4 Inch Motor Width ! I search ten BD36 Kit Sellers today, and none of them give a Clue, as to what Bike will handle their large oversized AXLE and 4 Inch Motor Width ! Help, Help, I’m Desperate !

    Steve ONeill, 847-776-1817, steveoneill5@aol.com

  4. Henry NN says:

    I purchased a brushed conversion system with a seemingly fine NIMH pack. However, I noticed that the yellow (discharged) indicator would come on whenever I used full throttle.Eventually, something went wrong; one of the output pairs of 12v off the pack shorted and apparently blew the switch. The company fixed the switch. However, I acquired a wilderness brushless conversion kit but used the NIMH pack instead of the SLA pack sent by Wilderness. It is not fast, but, hey, I feel the power and am, up to now, impressed. The yellow discharge only lights up whenI am climbing, which makes much sense. If I can go on with this system for at least four years, I shall have gotten my money as well as relief from transp. problems (only been using it for two weeks).I would love a feed back. My mail is:
    hnarsing@aol.com

  5. Andy says:

    E-bikes are really getting more powerful, especially w newer
    batteries like i saw on falconev dot com.
    I used my hub motor on a cruiser bike from W mart

  6. Rob Simmons says:

    When does the upgraded BD36 come out in 2007? January? December? Thanks.

  7. Ken says:

    In answer to the above post about the wheel fitting into the fork. You have to file your fork opening bigger to fit the axle. and you can not use any fork with a shock on it.

  8. John says:

    So what is the ‘real world’ range of this set up? Do you get the 20 mile claimed range?
    Thanks! – John

  9. Aaron says:

    I have been using the wilderness electrical Model BD36 battery pac for 3 weeks now. I commute 10 miles to work charge up and then 10 miles back. from Venice to Hollywood in LA. The unit works wonderfully better then I expected. However, I have had some problems with the battery bag falling off and breaking, as well as the throttle lever breaking off to. I have had too come up with creative solutions for both problems. The bike goes at an average speed of 20 MPH and with moderate pedaling 25 MPH, the batteries begins to lose power after about 10 miles. I am a big guy 220 lbs my commute takes me up a very gradual slope but my speed never dopes below 18 MPH. The engine is an amazing little powerhouse.
    I guess the biggest problem is the durability of the throttle switch, the battery bag, and the rack, all need to be built sturdier. I have had to replace all of these with sturdier solutions. It is because the bike hauls ass and with the bumpy streets in la things tend to get banged around. But all and all I am very satisfied with this product.

  10. Pete says:

    I am about to buy an electric bicycle conversion kit and basically the two contenders i had in mind are the wildernessenergy BL-36 brushless with a 8Ah NiCa battery or the RoadRunner RR-36 brushless hub with same battery pack as i have deviated abit from the specs the dealer is asking for 750CAD about 640US to me this seems too much for the BL-36 but may actually match the RR-36 any one has any experience with the RR-36 good or bad and how does it compare to the BL-36 the otherthing it maight be cheaper to peacemeal a bike by buying the parts seperately from diferent vendors has any one tried that instead of going for the conversion kit and if so any problems??

  11. Jim says:

    I leave nearby and would like something for short jaunts on the steep fire roads and trails around Trabuco Canyon. Have you used the WE unit on that type of terrain? Does the brushed motor have more torque for this application?
    Thanks!

  12. Ed Barkes says:

    Im looking for the wilderness bike kit manual or instructions,willing to pay fair price,I purchased a jamis bike & wilderness kit that has not been installed.

    many thanks for any leads ect.
    Ed Barkes

  13. Roger Lake says:

    I have a manuel and instructions that came with my bl-36 wilderness kit. If you want i can make copies and mail one to you . It isnt much of a manuel, just tells how to mount the wheel and specs.
    Roger

  14. FalconEV says:

    If anybody wants to upgrade their batteries to Lithium, let me know.
    P.S. They WILL cost more than you paid for the kit. So don’t be shocked.
    falconev dot com
    thanks

  15. We carry Wilderness Energy, Crystalyte, and Bionx conversion kit. In addition, we have Lithium battery.

    We continue to publish interesting articles about electric bike and had made many videos on the net.

    here are a few article
    http://66.216.117.91/Select_a_Conversion_Kit_s/33.htm
    http://66.216.117.91/electric_bike_Conversion_Pre_Requisites_s/49.htm

    and a how to video
    http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-8494970111924158218

  16. Nelson says:

    My experience with the Wilderness bike kit was a big disappointment. I was not informed of the problem with using this motor on a bike with shocks, and the motor broke the tines. I sent the motor back for repairs resulting from the wires getting damaged when this happened. I had to buy a regular fork. Instead of filing the forks, however, it makde more sense to file the oversize washer. Then I got good service from the motor for a few months. It always sparked when I had to detach the batteries for charging. It soarked worse when reattaching the battery pack. The manual says this is normal. But then one night the spark turned into a “spot weld” and melted the wire plug. The motor apparently is not as “sealed” as claimed, and so shorted out. No further repairs are available. The dealer said it would cost as much as a new kit.

  17. RB says:

    I purchased a WE BL-36 kit from BernsonEV.com in June of 2008. They seem to have a difficult time keeping them in stock as their prices are the lowest that I can find. $439 + SH for the BL-36.

    The wheel with the hub motor installed had loose spokes and was out of true. I trued the wheel myself and discovered that the rim was damaged and was not round. It appeared to have a flat spot in it’s circumference. I chose to have the motor spoked into a spare (better quality) rim that I had laying around by a local bike shop for $80. I also am using a Blackburn heavy duty rack that I already had for the batteries as the rack provided wiggled too much for my liking.

    The installation of the kit is easy and straight-forward. So much so that I installed in on a Cruiser bike, configured as a vintage board-track racer, that I had laying around to take turns ripping around the block with my son.

    The next day I moved the kit onto my Trek 830 for my commute. I performed a more permanent installation using tiewraps on the battery pack and electrical and duct-tape everywhere else to keep things tidy. I love this kit. It is stealthy and many do not know what I have. The kit is heavy. I would guess about 50 lbs total. I weigh 185 lbs. I have a 10 mile commute and have put about 600 miles on the kit with no problems. I pedal the entire time and receive a beneficial cardiovascular workout using the kit. While not as strenuous as my standard bike, it is better than sitting behind the wheel of a car. The charger seems to be an improved version as it does have a battery maintenance mode. My commute is mostly level on a bike path with very slight grades. I enjoy sneaking up on younger cyclists on their highend bikes and having them accept the all too common non-verbal speed challenge. I trail them for a while and when they start to wheez and cough, I apply more throttle and pass them by. Unless they are wise, they must be wondering how this 40 yr old man on an old bike is leaving them in the dust. Some choose to spend thousands on lightweight equipment. I chose to spend money on power.

    The net result is that I have rode to work everyday since purchasing the bike kit. I alternate between my standard bike and my Trek 830/WE-BL36 equipped bike. This kit has allowed me to stop using my car for commuting to work by motivating me to ride my bike(s) on days that I am too tired, running late, or the weather is too hot. For me, it removes excuses not to ride.

    I am very satisfied with the WE BL-36 kit.

  18. [...] had a chance to review the Wilderness Electric kit back in ‘05 on another site; and I also had a chance to ride with [...]

  19. Charles Avent says:

    Where can I buy one of these for $349.00, as quoted here? All of them that I have found are $499.00 and up!

  20. Paul says:

    My opinion. I like 80cc bicycle more better because this electric speed is slow than 80cc bicycle included gas.

  21. blippo says:

    Be sure if you purchase a Wilderness kit make sure if it says it comes with extended range batteries that you get them. I received two wheels from them that claimed it came with the extended battery and they didn’t. The extended range batteries are 12v/12a SLA. The regular ones were 12v/7.2a

  22. RB says:

    5 months and my BL-36 is still running strong. I have started riding my non-electric bike Mon, Tue, Wed, and have noticed that I am stronger and faster after having reaped the benefits of pedalling with my WE kit for the past 4 months. The WE equiped bike continues to be a strong motivator for me on days when I am looking for any excuse not to ride.

  23. Nikon Tom says:

    I purchased A Wilderness Energy BL-36 kit in Feb.’09 and have nothing but praise for the unit. I do agree the rack and battery charger are lame but the unit does work better than I expected, longevity remains to be seen. I am attaching a letter I emailed to the the company I purchased the kit from on ebay. Good luck!
    I recently purchased a BL36 e-bike kit from you on ebay(item#140292466234). Now I generally don’t take the time to do much for comments than to just leave feedback, however in this case I think “more” is justified.
    First, I live in New Orleans where the streets have always been atrocious. But after Hurricane Katrina the streets are worse than a minefield. Naturally I had my doubts weather this kit would standup to my daily commute to work each day and to the other errands I might need…well after 50 mile.± this kit is none the less for wear! My daily commute is five miles each way in moderate to heavy car and truck traffic whose drivers shouldn’t even be allowed to drive. But that’s most drivers in New Orleans. I pedal almost all of the time and let the unit assist me on overpasses and startups and wind. While I don’t match the speed limit I do pretty much keep to the flow of traffic if not better.
    Installing the kit is very simple, I did it in 2 hrs, but I made several “alterations” during installation. I mounted the BL36 kit on a Schwinn Frontier GS Mtn Sport bike. I bought the bike specifically for the kit on Craigslist. The front dropouts did need to be filed to accommodate the new wheel axle and I opted to purchase a sturdier rear rack from a local bike shop. I also added some foam between the controller unit( 1/4″ foam padding) when I mounted the unit under the rack. I also added an inch of foam padding between the battery pack bottom and the top of the rack to absorb the shock I knew it was going to take on these streets. I also added some padding between the battery cells and on top of the battery cells. I used liquid tape to seal the area where the wires enter the front hub and any “open” entry points for wires.
    Now for the “cons” of the kit. They could include screws and nuts for the rear rack and definitely more wire ties. I think the battery charger may be a little lame, but that remains to be seen.
    The rear light and cyclometer are nice extras(we say laginappe in N.O.) but I am having some issues with the cyclometer. So if you have any suggestions on this unit I would appreciate your help. It works intermittently but it isn’t “accurate” and mounting instructions are vague.
    Thank you for your quick shipping and answering my questions. I hope this unit continues to tolerate the streets of New Orleans.

  24. skylark says:

    also check “campsolution.com” there is a very similar three phase brushless there that is the same / as of april 09 the newer est ones have only three wires to the hub which is foolproof Mine is exactly the same as the wilderness and is somewhat less to buy

  25. The Next Generation
    The Brushed motor is almost a thing of the past. All of the currant kits that I am aware of are the brushless type. Even newer is the brushless with Hall Effect sensors. This works similar to a 3 phase motor. Sensors inside of the motor pick up where the magnets are and activate them in series. This maintains a near constant pulse with little pause between magnets. The Hall Effect is not only more efficient for distance and power but allows dead stop starts without pedaling. You will save a significant portion of the battery charge by pedaling first, but it is not required. (a rarity for brushless motors).

    There is a system (not just a kit, but a complete system) that utilizes the Hall Effect along with a lot of other perks, such as Motor Disconnect Brakes, an enclosed battery and controller hard case with a quick disconnect feature and a theft resistant key lock.
    It also includes an integrated LED headlight, horn and remote on/off switch.

    If you really want a top of the line bicycle Power System, at a vey reasonable price, you should look at this. http://www.pegasuspowersystems.com.

    Another problem that I have experienced with some kits is the packaging. Loose Styrofoam all over the inside of the carton, and even wheel axles sticking outside of the box, damaged rims and missing parts.

    This has all been eliminated with their new component form fitting shipping container.

  26. Manny says:

    Love my bicycle, the one thing I wish was included in the bike kit is a new kick stand with the added weight the bicycle would fall over.
    I own two of the bicycle kits because I like the first one so much I bought the girl friend one to. the only thing is does anyone know about regenerating brakes that will charge the batteries when you brake
    to extend the distance that the bicycle can travel

    or a small solar panel that I can put on the bicycle when I park it for a picnic or just a nip at one of the forest preserves

    i need a way to extend the mileage does anyone have any ideas
    thanks Manny Green
    manny1025@aol.com

  27. David C. says:

    I recently purchased a Wilderness Energy BL36 kit from a company called Tapeworm.I placed order by phone and made purchase via bank card.the purchase price including tax&shipping was $359.00.I had no problem installing kit,instructions simple.The charger was defective and Tapeworm had Fed-Ex bring new one in 3days.The motor performance was beyond my expectations and the ride smooth and quiet.Friction ate through the wires right at entry into hub,I called Tapeworm and within 3hr.s they called and informed me that a new motor in rim was being sent.I will check daily to make sure new motor is mounted tightly and wrap cable going into motor hub with additional electric tape.I have nothing but praise for Tapeworm(1-800-245-6000) and Wilderness Energy,I would and will make purchases from them in future!

  28. David C. says:

    Less one week after bike motor went bad FED-EX shows up with new motor &rim,THANK YOU TAPEWORM&WILDERNESS ENERGY!

  29. bob says:

    THe most powerful hub motor I ever owned came from http://www.falconev.com made w lithium batteries.

  30. Jason says:

    Do yourself a favor and check http://www.E-BikeKit.com when shopping for an electric bike conversion system with LiFePO4 battery.

  31. Bill Brown says:

    Im try to find replacement spokes for a WD36 on a 26 inch rim. Does anyone know the size of the spokes? I believe 13 gauges is warranted?

    Thanks in advance

  32. FALCON EV says:

    Sure is a long detailed favorable article for someone supposedly unbiased

  33. chris ray says:

    Wilderness has consistently made a good product with great prices!

    This is Christopher Ray with AmpedBikes . First we would like to thank each and every one of our customers and supporters.

    Second.. This last year has been good to us and has allowed us to completely redesign our kits from the ground up. We have designed and patented our new Direct Drive motors with the ability to simply swap over your disk brake on your existing bike.

    We continue to put 100% of profits back into the company. Developing new products

    We have created our new mini powerhouse geared motor that is almost 100% stealth.

    Come visit us and see our new wireless system! !

    If you have disabled friends, friends overseas in the military or Schools working on projects please have them contact us for free kits.

    Thanks again. (and thanks to WE for sparking this passion)

    Christopher Ray
    Http://www.ampedbikes.com

  34. My BD-36 says:

    I have a BD36 kit on one of my bikes and it has held up nicely. Hub has over 1500 miles.
    The only problem so far is that I ran it with a 48v pack for about 300 miles and one of the
    brushes wore down oddly and jammed.
    From the looks of the used brushes, the lifespan of the brushes is perhaps 3000 to 4000 miles when run at 36v. Maybe more.
    I am trying to sell it, but may end up keeping it for short commutes etc.
    This kit is easy to troubleshoot. Brush replacement requires some basic skill.
    The main negative thing about the BD36 is the
    inefficency of the brushed motor. It uses about 25% more juice than power-comparable brushless motors.

  35. Wm Holden says:

    seems like these comments are pretty old…but I must say i found much of the bike content helpful.

    I’m currently putting (have put) a BL36 on my gas powered grubee 50cc cruiser and am quite impressed with the results.

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